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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Fungi use signaling molecules called LCOs to communicate with each other and to regulate growth. Credit: Jessy Labbe/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators have discovered that signaling molecules known to trigger symbiosis between plants and soil bacteria are also used by almost all fungi as chemical signals to communicate with each other.

Diverse evidence shows that plants and soil will likely capture and hold more carbon in response to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to an analysis published by an international research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Diverse evidence shows that plants and soil will likely capture and hold more carbon in response to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to an analysis published by an international research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Data collection instruments at the North Pole

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory were part of an international team that collected a treasure trove of data measuring precipitation, air particles, cloud patterns and the exchange of energy between the atmosphere and the sea ice.

ORNL assisted in investigating proteins called porins, one shown in red, which are found in the protective outer membrane of certain disease-causing bacteria and tether the membrane to the cell wall. Credit: Hyea (Sunny) Hwang/Georgia Tech and ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory used high-performance computing to create protein models that helped reveal how the outer membrane is tethered to the cell membrane in certain bacteria.

Materials—Engineering heat transport

Scientists have discovered a way to alter heat transport in thermoelectric materials, a finding that may ultimately improve energy efficiency as the materials convert heat flow into electricity.

Neutron scattering allowed direct observation of how aurein induces lateral segregation in the bacteria membranes, which creates instability in the membrane structure. This instability causes the membranes to fail, making harmful bacteria less effective.

As the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs threatens public health, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Shuo Qian and Veerendra Sharma from the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre in India are using neutron scattering to study how an antibacterial peptide interacts with and fights harmful bacteria.

Using neutrons from the TOPAZ beamline, which is optimal for locating hydrogen atoms in materials, ORNL researchers observed a single-crystal neutron diffraction structure of the insoluble carbonate salt formed by absorption of carbon dioxide from the air.

Researchers used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source to investigate the effectiveness of a novel crystallization method to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air.

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Researchers used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source to investigate bizarre magnetic behavior, believed to be a possible quantum spin liquid rarely found in a three-dimensional material. QSLs are exotic states of matter where magnetism continues to fluctuate at low temperatures instead of “freezing” into aligned north and south poles as with traditional magnets.

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A team of scientists, led by University of Guelph professor John Dutcher, are using neutrons at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source to unlock the secrets of natural nanoparticles that could be used to improve medicines.